Anonymous Send Message to Billionaires Who Donated to Notre Dame Fund | 22 Words

Last week, the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris went down in flames and people in France, and across the world, were devastated to lose such a historic site. A Notre-Dame fund was started to help to rebuild the church and to everyone's shock, it only took a couple of days to raise over one billion euros.

How did that happen? A famous French billionaire began a "race of giving."

While some people praised the generosity of the people donating so much money to the cause, others were outraged. Twitter-users condemned the rich, claiming that it's no donation if you attach your name to it.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Vests began protests across several locations in Paris. They believed that the government was siding with the upper class, further worsening the income inequality that plagues France.

Anonymous, the infamous hacker-activist group, has joined the protesters, releasing a video-warning to the billionaires.

Read on to find out more about the protests that have led to several arrests and the release of tear gas, and what Anonymous had to say about the billionaire donations.

On April 15th, the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris caught on fire.

A large portion of the eight-hundred-year-old building was destroyed.

The cathedral is not only an important part of French history but of Catholic history, too.

Just as shocked and devastated as everyone else, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, promised the people that the cathedral will be restored as soon as possible.

"We'll rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it," he said.

"It's up to us to convert this disaster into an opportunity to come together... It's up to us to find the thread of our national project."

In just two days, the Notre-Dame fund raised over one billion euros for its restoration.

But it was mostly thanks to French billionaires. One of them was Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the country, who donated €200 million ($226 million).

Meanwhile, Francois-Henri Pinault donated €100 million ($112 million).

According to VT, among the billionaires were construction magnates, Martin and Olivier Bouygues; cosmetics giant, L'Oreal; oil company, Total and investor, Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere.

But, unfortunately, these donations most likely had little to do with the businessmen's altruism.

Many people praised the billionaires for stepping in, but even more condemned their actions to the point of Twitter mockery and protests on the streets of Paris.

Twitter-user, Keiso wrote, "While ppl can spend their money how they want, the fact Notre-Dame raised so much money so fast says a lot."

Leeogaza said, "All that money donated to a fire that was started deliberately! ? something smells fishy," referring to one of the speculations that Notre-Dame fire was no accident.

Another Twitter-user, Rose Newell, supported neither the billionaires nor the protesters.

She made a very good point, saying, "An anonymous contribution is a donation; a named contribution is a purchase of social status."

According to Newell, this explains why the rich don’t donate when there is an actual crisis.

"The cultural cache is too small," she tweeted. "It is not worth the price of the donation (to them)."

A Twitter-user, who goes by the name Nationalise Cosmo Cans!, compared the Notre-Dame fire to the fire that destroyed Grenfell Tower in London two years ago.

And the difference is that the Grenfell Tower fire killed dozens and left even more people homeless. Nationalise Cosmo Cans!'s tweets received thousands of likes.

He wrote, "Imagine if Grenfell had some really important stained glass windows and examples of gothic architecture, instead of just human beings."

When his tweet received some angry comments, he added, "Lots of folk angry I’m making this comparison, yet tens of millions will be spent repairing Notre-Dame while the deadly cladding at Grenfell remains in place across dozens of residential buildings."

"Something will be done about this."

"It will be done quickly, it will be done well, and it will be done at enormous cost because under capitalism we value artifacts more than we value working-class lives, especially when those lives are immigrants and their children."

He continued, "For the avoidance of doubt, it’s okay to be upset about the senseless loss of history, of culture, of art."

"What bothers me is how this will be prioritised while working class people continue to live in unfit and unsafe conditions."

"Especially in Paris," he added, "which remains one of the most economically divided, indeed segregated, cities in the world."

"The rich are coming out of the woodwork throwing down money for repairs, but where’s the money to fix up slum housing, schools, community centers?"

Clearly, hundreds of French people thought the same thing when they marched in the streets of Paris on Saturday.

According to Prepare For Change, protesters believed that the way the government and the upper class responded to the Notre-Dame fire only proved their "ongoing inaction to combat income inequality."

The protesters are known as the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests.

The movement started just a few months before the fire and their goal is to overcome income inequality.

Founder of the movement, Ingrid Levavasseur, told France 24, "You’re there, looking at all these millions accumulating, after spending five months in the streets fighting social and fiscal injustice. It’s breaking my heart."

"Some of the activists said they cried in front of their TV sets as they watched the Gothic architectural masterpiece being consumed by flames Monday night and some even made small donations for the restoration of the iconic building, despite their struggles to make ends meet."

"But grief turned to anger for many," Levavasseur continued.

"The Yellow Vests watched donations pour in and Macron call for the church to be repaired within 5 years, exacerbating the perception of many that he is a 'president for the rich.'"

"What happened at Notre-Dame is obviously a deplorable tragedy," she added. "But nobody died."

"I’ve heard someone speaking of national mourning. Are they out of their minds?"

One sign at the protest read, "Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors ready to save Notre-Dame and proposes that they do the same thing with Les Miserables."

The sign referred to two well-known novels by the French writer, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Misérables. Ironically, both of the novels dealt with the struggles of impoverished people in France.

Prepare For Change says that, by Saturday afternoon, one-hundred and twenty-six protesters had already been arrested.

In some areas, demonstrators started setting small fires on the streets, and police had to deploy tear gas to stop them. But overall, the protests were peaceful.

The Notre-Dame fire and income inequality issues have reached people in the US, too.

Many of them criticized Trump for offering money to France to help rebuild the cathedral.

Some reminded that us all that very little was done in comparison when several black churches in Louisiana burnt down not long ago.

The churches were allegedly attacked by white nationalists and only $1.9 million were raised for their restoration, a meagre amount compared to the impressive donations made to the Notre-Dame fund. Now, Anonymous, the infamous group of hackers-activists, has joined the protesters.

Anonymous doesn’t send video messages very often, so when they do, you know someone must have really messed up.

A few days ago, Anonymous released a video message to the billionaires which said, as transcribed by AnonNews, "This is a message to the billionaires who donated huge sums of money to the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral in France."

"This week, you have proven just how big your hearts can be and how deep your pockets go."

"Your contribution seemed monumental to most people in the world, who live paycheck to paycheck, and amounted to sums of money that we could never even imagine spending."

And Anonymous believes that that's the problem.

"It is admirable that you were willing to reach into your pockets during a time of national crisis (if you want to call it that), but now the people of the world are wondering why you don’t show this type of compassion when people’s lives are actually at stake," they continued.

"Luckily, no one was hurt during this week’s fire at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France."

"Yet, the partial loss of a historical building has gathered more donations than any natural disaster or poverty crisis in the past several years."

"This selective charity has opened the eyes of the people of the world to the misplaced priorities of the ruling class."

"It is now obvious that you care more about symbols of your cultural power than you do about human lives or the very planet that we live on."

The masked figure added, "In this statement, we are not here to make any threats, you have already exposed yourselves."

"Instead, we are here to appeal to your sense of humanity, the shred of soul that may be left inside of you."

"The massive financial inequality on this planet makes the world a more difficult place to live for you just as much as it does for us."

"Take a moment to re-examine your priorities and take a look at the serious injustices taking place around the world and see how the burning of the Notre-Dame cathedral pales in comparison to these tragedies. "Perhaps then you will be ready to use the wealth that you have attained in this world to achieve positive things."